A group of 17 members of the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) arrived on the island on Monday this week
A PFTAC steering committee meeting took place yesterday at the Scenic Matavai Resort conference room.
PFTAC partners currently on the island include New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Asian Development Bank, United States of America, Canada and the European Union.
BCN News was able to speak with the Director of PFTAC Samir Jahjah yesterday morning where he explained that the core purpose of their visit to Niue is to hold its annual meeting to review the progress of the implementation of economic reforms and the economic situation in the Pacific region.
They are also here to assess the economic challenges faced in the Pacific region given the multiple crises faced in the region and Niue.
“The covid has taken a big toll on the economy. No more tourism, much less trade. For Niue and most of the Pacific Island countries, it was an extreme shock to the economy.”
“With the opening of borders, we see in some countries tourists are rebounding. It is clearly the case in Fiji for instance. But not all islands have benefited from that recovery and that Niue has not yet benefited but the finance minister has mentioned that with the opening, they hope that this will be happening.”
PFTAC Director Samir also shared three key objectives that PFTAC is working with the Pacific Island nations to respond to the impacts of the pandemic to the economies of the Pacific nations.
“We see the IMF (International Monetary Fund), three main challenges in the region. One of course is how do we recover from the pandemic? Second is how can countries deal with another shock that hit the world economy which is the war in Ukraine that affected prices, commodity prices, supply chain. And the third, is existential for the region which is climate change.”
“We know that climate change will impact these islands each in different ways, rising sea level will affect more islands than others but we also have natural disasters which come in addition. So countries need to have the capacity, what we call in our jargon, fiscal space, to cope and to deal with these kinds of shocks, to adjust the policies where needed so that there is a strong response to benefit the populations.”
Director Samir says that PFTAC are also here to discuss progress of PFTAC in the last five years and what they can do better in the following years ahead particularly for Niue.
They will be holding consultations and meetings with government officials during their course of stay here on the island until they depart next Monday.